Goa’s media history looks at four decades of change

June 11th, 2008 - 10:41 am ICT by IANS  


Panaji, June 11 (IANS) Goa got Asia’s first Western-style printing press four and a half centuries ago, but an English language daily began here only after the end of Portuguese rule here in 1963. And, while local newspapers have so far dominated the field, Goa’s latest English language daily is the national level Times of India. Its arrival earlier this year has drastically changed the media scene here, but it was greeted by some critical responses by rival newspapers and others.

These facts and many opinions emerge from a just-published book that looks at the history of the post-1960s newspaper scenario in Goa.

Titled “In Black and White: Insiders Stories About The Press In Goa”, the book covers the period from the launch of The Navhind Times in 1963 up to recent months. In all, it has some 22 chapters contributed by 20 different journalists.

“You can’t be neutral about the media. Many are critical of it, some distrust it, and almost all are influenced by it,” says the book. It narrates colourful — if highly personalised - stories of those who saw the media from the frontlines.

It reports how the first assembly elections of 1963 were covered by the then lone English language daily, The Navhind Times. The book also focuses on the often-unknown role that dominant media voices have played, and challenges facing attempts to build alternatives in the English language and Konkani sections of the media.

Some chapters focus on the impact of the Herald (formerly O Heraldo). In 1983, it switched over from being the last Portuguese daily to be published in Asia, to an English language newspaper. Journalists themselves explain the travails of covering rural Goa. Newbies talk of their experiences in the press.

Goa saw an expansion of its English language newspapers in the 1980s. But, since then, a few more options opened up (suddenly for English language journalists), with the exception of The Times of India, which launched its Goa edition in May 2008 and suddenly made journalists a sought-offer commodity, hiking salaries to unprecedented levels.

Two essays cover regional language Konkani journalism, making contentious points. Also focussed on is a critique of how police-reporting functions in Goa.

This book also looks at papers in Goa that were started and didn’t continue in operation - like the West Coast Times, the Novem Goem (in Konkani). It refers to the crop of Portuguese newspapers that didn’t survive the post-1961 changes.

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